BC’s Very Own Old Town Road

Yee (and I cannot stress this enough) haw. Saddle up, cowboys, today is a big day. Not only is today the release of Lil Nas X’s long awaited “Old Town Road” music video, it’s also the first day of the Cloverdale Rodeo! One of North America’s longest running rodeos, might I add.

The Rodeo and Country Fair returns on the May long weekend for its 73rd year running and features an array of events for those old and young including entertainment in their Longhorn Saloon and on the Lordco outdoor stage, an Agrizone where you can meet some adorable animals, lumberjack shows, and corgi races. Oh, and of course it wouldn’t be country without a BBQ fest. The main attraction though is probably the rodeo itself, a place where 24 cowboys and cowgirls alike compete for a $300,000 prize and the title of Rodeo Champion. The rodeo features things like bareback riding, bronc riding (you may know this from the term “bucking bronco”), bull riding, and ladies barrel riding.

The event will start today and ends on the 20th. Tickets are currently still available, access to the rodeo is $25 and the fair is $10 (kids under 12 are free!).

If that doesn’t sweeten your tea, you can always check out the Rodeo Parade that starts on 177B Street and Highway #10 in the colourful little town of Cloverdale tomorrow at 10am. It will feature floats, marching units, bands, antique cars, and some horses taken down the old town road.

For more information and schedules for the Cloverdale Rodeo, buckle up and head here.

A Special Storm Brings a Light Show to Canada

Have you ever made a bucket list? If so, does that bucket list maybe have seeing the infamous northern lights on it? Well if it does, you’re in luck! The National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration issued a G1 Geomagnetic Storm Watch a few days ago for the 15th and 16th. This means that there is an area of magnetic activity in and around a sunspot which in turn means that southern parts of the country will see the south skies light up in an array of colourful flares.

via Giuseppe Milo on flickr

The northern lights, or auroras, happen when charged particles travel along the solar wind and interact with different molecules in the magnetosphere. They’re predominantly seen in northern regions such as the Arctic circle, although in some cases, we get our own southern lights. Usually it goes through a cycle of activity every 11 years which happens to be occurring right now!

The magnetic storm started a little earlier than expected this year, causing bright explosions of light just after midnight on the 14th in some northern states like Iowa and Michigan. Lucky for Canadians, it looks like we will be able to get a peek. Unfortunately, light pollution plays a big role in whether or not they’ll be visible to us so Metro Vancouver might not be the place to watch them. Your best bet would be heading a little bit up north or east to get a glimpse. Make sure you’ve got a camera ready!

If you want some more information regarding auroras, NASA always has great info.
You can check out the weather for your area over at the The Weather Network

Songs of Schizophrenia

Mother’s Day on Sunday brought the end of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 68th Mental Health week. In commemoration of this week, many different societies got involved, putting out campaigns and wellness tips for people to get educated and take care of themselves. Some places, such as The British Columbia Schizophrenia Society, created ways for people to really understand just how much mental illness can affect someone.

Schizophrenia psychically affects the brain like many other diseases

They created Songs of Schizophrenia. No, this is not the edgy name of some rock or trap album, it doesn’t fit the stigmatized bill of being scary or creepy; it’s simply an album created to showcase what those suffering from psychosis might experience in their everyday life. To create it, the BCSS collaborated with 10 Canadian Musicians, editing the songs provided to emulate what it can be like to experience auditory hallucinations.

When listening to the songs, you will hear voices, ranging from encouraging and friendly to threatening and unsettling. The voices play throughout, some accompanied by other sounds such as banging on a door. They hope the project will help people, whether they know someone with the disease or not, understand what it’s like to suffer from it.

Schizophrenia is a brain disease that is the result of physical and chemical imbalances in the brain. It causes things such as delusions and hallucinations, disorganized thinking, and can go hand in hand with other mental illnesses like anxiety or depression. Worldwide 1 in 100 people are affected and over 47,000 British Columbians and 360,000 Canadians live with it, this number goes up even higher with psychosis, a condition that causes a detachment with reality.

While the audio may be quite disturbing to some, it’s a good reminder that many people around suffer from things like it that they cannot simply press pause on.

Songs of Schizophrenia can be found on Youtube, Spotify, and Apple Music.
To learn more about schizophrenia and psychosis, head to the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society

Donating Blood Will Get a Little Bit Easier for Some

The Federal Government announced last week that it has approved the plan that would reduce the time that gay men are celibate before donating blood. Canadian Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor says the period between donating blood would be going down to three months from its former one year. The request for the reduction of the ban comes from Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec and makes Canada the fourth country to reduce the ban to this length, right after Scotland, England, and Wales.

After many years, scientific evidence has shown that reductions have not affected the number of HIV positive donations. Up until 2013, Canada had a lifetime ban on MSM (men who have sex with men) blood donations for anyone who engaged in sexual activity with another man after 1977. In 2013, it was changed to 5 years, then reduced by one in 2016, and finally brings us to where we are now.

Health Canada said in a statement that it is a “significant step towards eliminating the deferral period entirely” and that the change “ensures that Canada remains a global leader in safe, non-discriminatory blood donation.”

Blood/blood products are crucial in many lifesaving medical procedure and there is always a constant need for them in Canada. If you’re like me and not too comfortable with medical procedures, have no fear! There are no health risks associated with giving blood and the process is over in practically no time.

For more information about donating and the ban, head on over to Canadian Blood Services

Grey Skies and Burning Eyes

Living in BC means grey skies during every season, though not every single sky brings rain. Summer time for us British Columbians can be tough. It’s not only unbearably hot, but our beautiful scenery usually becomes a blazing ball of fire by the time July rolls around, causing dark skies and some unpleasant symptoms.

Occasionally wildfire season hits us a little bit sooner, like right now for example. As of today, half of the province is already under “high fire danger” which means forest fuel is dry and there is a serious risk of fires.

via CBC, 2018 wildfire season

Wildfire smoke is a mix of gases and very fine particles which can be incredibly irritating to our bodies and while we can’t do much about the smoke that arrives, we can do some things to protect ourselves from it:

1. Stay in air-controlled places! Air conditioning, H-VAC systems, keep your windows closed, oh my!
2. Reduce the amount of activity you do outside, both strenuous and leisure.
3. If you have a respiratory condition or chronic illness, take it easy, man.
4. Sometimes smoke can cause inflammation so keep yourself hydrated and take anti-inflammatories as you see fit.
5. Speaking of keeping yourself hydrated, keep yourself hydrated.

Of course, like always, make sure you are keeping your surroundings safe as well. This means following campfire/fire bans, putting your cigarette butts in appropriate places of disposal, and listening to the BC wildfire service.

For more info, check out: EmergencyInfoBC